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Real Gifts

Linking up with Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart.

I heard her piqued voice, "I know they want this gift.  It's two hundred dollars. I don't have two hundred dollars to spend on this."
"Seriously, that's ridiculous" I try to cut through the panic in her voice.  "You can't do that.  You are struggling as it is." Her eyes register that truth back to me.

This conversation mimics ones I replay in my head every Christmas or hear other people say every Christmas.
One of my closest friends told me a couple of Christmases ago that her sister had already went to the store of choice and placed on hold the items she wanted. "I've already picked out and put the sweater on hold.  All you have to go is go pick it up."
I don't know that sort of steals the beauty of giving a gift, don't you think? And being me, I probably would not have done that.  I would have resisted that very un-Christmas approach.

I've been in that gift trap too. Let's all set price limits and only buy for this person.  So basically we are agreeing to exchange fifty bucks on each other.
Now I get it.  In big families you have to do so, but if that's the extent of your Christmas, the extent of your giving its rather empty.

I realize this is so anti commercialism but I'd love a Christmas that wasn't boxed or taped shut for a few days to peek a boo under pine needles.

We all speak love differently.  I love by giving people things and by bearing down the love in my heart with words spoken or written to those I love.  That means "I love you" to me. I speak love with my eyes.  Eye contact.  Concentrated moments.  When I'm all there, all ears, all eyes.

My husband is a gift giver.  He loves to ponder on and then squander some green backs on a gift that no one expected.  I quickly learned that our first Christmas together when after working his job he would strip scrap wire he got from working as an electrician assistant.  Our tiny apartment was an inferno (thanks to a wood insert he decided we needed to heat a few square feet) and he sat there with knife in hand whittling away.  "I think I'm going to give this money to the _____  kids."  I nodded enthusiastically when he told me his Christmas plans.
I think he ended up with three hundred bucks or so and joyfully used the money to help three middle schoolers who wouldn't have much for Christmas.  Three kids with no real structure or daddy.  I remember being so proud of him.

That was our first Christmas together and under our interesting tree my husband wasn't done with his heart gifts.  He pulled out a wooden jewelry box for me.  Inside set two diamond earrings.  I was shocked.  I knew that this had cost him.  A lot.  It was the most expensive gift he has ever given me at Christmas.  I have to say I didn't really know what to say... You see I love to wear long, dripping dangled earrings, but two twinkling diamonds aren't really me.  I guess I'm not classy.  I'd prefer the cheap. I knew how extravagant the gift was.  His anticipation glowed out of his full moon eyes as I unwrapped his big moment.
That was a true Christmas gift.  I hadn't at all ever dreamed I'd receive and for a moment didn't quite know what to say about it.  I had never contemplated getting anything of the sort and so I beamed a big smile back at him and enjoyed the joy that spilled down his face.  He had given richly what He wanted me to have and now I received the unexpected with joy seeing the love behind it.
It reminds me of some healing God is doing in my own heart.  How sometimes the beauty He wants us to wear we would never dream of ourselves. We might even feel awkward doing so.  But His love always looks the best on us.

I love gifts like that.  That is Christmas. It's unexpected grace given by someone who didn't have to, but wanted to. Gifts like that reflect the grace of God's unexpected gift at Christmas.  Himself wrapped in vulnerability, in humanity, in the arms of a young teenager mother.  All of it, for us.  When He didn't have to.  A gift few people were expecting.

Now that I have three kids Christmas is no longer about me and my husband.  I don't think about what I'm receiving or due to receive ever.  It's that shift that happens when you grow up.  And I'm happy about that.  You see when you come to life empty handed, with out entitlement, rather with just thankful expectation for what you receive, whatever it is  you are happier.  Your life is so much fuller.
I know deep in me, there is not one thing monetarily I'm missing that would make my heart truly happy.  I've learned this over the years.  There might be things I'd love to have one day, bills I'd like to erase, and breathing room I'd like to work in but I know it... I'm rich.

I've been rich in generosity that people have gifted my family with in Christmases past.  My husband and I always smile as we remember the pointed and anonymous gifts we have received from others during this season of Christmas.
I'm rich every day....
Rich in little hands that wrestle me and grip mine, all day long.
Rich in relationships with meaningful friends.
Rich in love with my husband, that love story that still makes me wonder some days
Rich in life that unfolds adventurous and new because Jesus is always revealing more of Himself. The Gift that keeps giving...
Rich in this season of Christmas. No matter what.
I'm just happy to be given anything because I don't have to be given anything.  With that in mind I can smile and be free.  Free to open up my hands and receive.  And perhaps laugh at some of the offerings :)

You're rich at Christmas when you posses the true gift of Christmas.
Romans 8:32 assures us of the over abundance of this Gift. "Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?" 

Is there someone  in your life you can give to extravagantly, unexpectedly, perhaps undeservingly this Christmas?  To let them taste a slice of Heaven and you feel the joy in giving?  

I want the wonder on those faces, to match the wonder I still feel in my heart at the great gifts of God 


  1. Somer,
    Thank you so much for your sweet words about missing my blog last week -- your gifts are your words to your friends (particularly to this online friend! :))

    What a wonderful husband you have -- I love reading that about your strong relationship - - what a beautiful gift for you and an example for your girls! I had to laugh about the earrings he got you -- they sound beautiful, but how funny that you like long, dangling ones better. How incredible that he thinks of others and the family you mentioned that he blessed that year - - I'm sure he has areas to improve on but he sounds like a true gem!

    I agree that this giving season sometimes puts our hearts in the wrong places but you remind us that giving from the heart is what's more important than the cost of a gift from the store, and that the greatest gift of our savior is what we put our hope in. Just lovely!

    1. Valerie, I did miss it :) i went on the hunt. I hope you had a beautiful thanksgiving with your niece :) Yes, i do have a gem in my husband. His accepting spirit of me has always been among my greatest gifts.

  2. Oh, Summer, it's so true. We are so rich! The gift of God's Son was wrapped in cloths and laid in a smelly manger--no sparkles or neat bows. And yet the sacrifice behind that gift of Love was the greatest ever made. The Lord is truly getting my attention this year. Thank you for sharing from your heart this beautiful message.

  3. What a lovely story. Thanks for sharing your heart. And it is so true---we are rich and in need of nothing if we have Jesus. Visiting from Coffee For Your Heart.

    1. Thank you Mary. I had a young man look at me one day in the vestibule at church and say simply to me, "You are rich." And that was that. I was left to figure it out. And I got it. My arms were filled with my one year old first born girl. He and his wife had been to our tiny young couple's apartment that was filled with hand me downs and so I was surprised to hear his words. I got it though. I've always remembered that phrase.

  4. Thank you for sharing....and reminding!

    1. Rhonda, Thank you. I always love seeing your smile. Seriously it is contagious.

  5. Oh Summer, how I agree. We could so be friends! :) I don't get the way society gives gifts these days. I want to give and receive from the heart. And give over and above, like I have received!


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